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Towing rules change for UK drivers


More drivers will now be able to tow caravans and trailers after new laws were brought in by the Government on 16 December

In order to free up space at test centres for those looking to get their lorry licences, the DVSA has changed towing regulations for drivers who passed their test after 1 January, 1997.

The move will have a big impact on caravanners, who previously had to pass a test before they could pull a caravan over a certain weight. Now, all drivers will be able to tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3,500kg without an additional test.

What this means

Changes to licence regulations will allow all drivers to tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3,500kg. This will basically mean that category BE is added to all driving licence records. The DVSA has confirmed that the Government laid the legislation in Parliament for the change to car and trailer testing on 16 September. The changes took effect on 16 December.

A UK Government spokesman said,


Check your car's handbook to find out its gross train weight (GTW). This is the total allowable weight of the car, plus the trailer, plus the load.

What is the law now?

The rules on what you can tow still depend on when you passed your test. It's also worth noting that there are different rules for towing in Northern Ireland.

If you passed your car test before 1 January, 1997, you are not affected by the rule changes. You should still be allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). 

If you passed your test after 1 January, 1997, you are now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg. 

How will the changes take effect?

The DVLA will update all driving licence records automatically, then when you get a new photocard licence, the BE category will be on there. You don't need to contact the DVLA for this change to take place. 

However, while the law has changed, we would always recommend carrying out a towing course if you have not had previous towing training.

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